Response of the meiofaunal annelid Saccocirrus pussicus (Saccocirridae) to sandy beach morphodynamics

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Interstitial annelids in the family Saccocirridae live in the extremely turbulent and dynamic swash zone of exposed sandy beaches. We examine herein the relationship between distribution patterns of Saccocirrus pussicus du Bois-Reymond Marcus 1948 and morphodynamics, hydrodynamic zones, and environmental variables at beaches sampled along the Brazilian Atlantic coast. The occurrence and the abundance of S. pussicus at regional scale were positively correlated with the presence of a steep slope, large waves and coarse sand, which are characteristic of reflective beaches. On a local scale, S. pussicus occurred at the swash zone and breaking surf zone of reflective beaches. On a microscale, it preferred the upper 20 cm of the swash zone sediment. Saccocirrus pussicus prefers hydrodynamic zones, which change temporally, suggesting dependence with the dynamics of the surging and plunging waves. The coupling of morphological and behavioral adaptations of S. pussicus to beach morphodynamics is crucial for understanding its surfing life strategies within turbulent environments.

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We are grateful to Afranio G. Neto, Carla Ozório, Cinthya S. Santos, Fabiane Gallucci, Guilherme Corte, Gustavo Fonseca, and Paulo J.P. dos Santos for their suggestions on the first draft of the manuscript. Ana Luiza G. Martins, Alessandro L. Prantoni, André Pereira Cattani, Lucas Faria, Paulo Bernardes da Costa, Reginaldo Nunes, and Veronica Oliveira were most helpful providing logistic support during field sampling. This study was supported by the Brazilian National Council for Technological and Scientific Development (CNPq—Process 140611/2008-8), which provided the PhD fellowship of MDD, and São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP—Process 2012/08581-0; 2013/04358-7) which provided postdoctoral fellowships and grants for MDD. We are grateful to Fernando de Pol Mayer and Leonardo Sandrini Neto for the comments to the last version of the manuscript. Brett Gonzalez helped with the revision of the English text. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.

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Di Domenico, M., Martínez, A., Almeida, T.C.M. et al. Response of the meiofaunal annelid Saccocirrus pussicus (Saccocirridae) to sandy beach morphodynamics. Hydrobiologia 734, 1–16 (2014) doi:10.1007/s10750-014-1858-9

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  • Interstitial annelids
  • Grain size
  • Surf-scaling parameter
  • Beach morpho- and hydrodynamics